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3 Challenges Facing Advanced Imaging Centers and How to Overcome Them with a Cloud-Native RIS System

They say things get easier with time, but “they” must not have been talking about healthcare. Instead, the challenges are ever-increasing, especially in the radiology specialty. From shrinking reimbursements, increasing regulatory requirements, and evolving patient demands to looming cybersecurity threats and on-premise infrastructure limitations, the hits just seem to keep coming for diagnostic radiology practices.

So, how do you overcome these challenges? The short answer? Improve and optimize your operations – easier said than done. However, with the increasing adoption of cloud native solutions, it’s becoming less risky and more doable at a reasonable cost.

Let’s dive deeper into a few of these top challenges before sharing the single solution advanced imaging centers can use to overcome them immediately.

Challenge #1: Aging Legacy Health Systems

Aging legacy health systems like RIS, PACS, and other key components are amongst the biggest challenges facing practices today. Why? The first reason is that most radiology information systems weren’t built for the internet era. Most systems were designed and built by big-name healthcare vendors under two assumptions. First, that most radiology operations take place inside a hospital, and second, that digital data and images are mostly shared between the practice employees and radiologist. This means results and images can be shared with the referring physicians or patients via fax, CDs, or in-person. Moreover, they offer a limited number of pre-defined workflows to handle registration and scheduling as well as tech and radiologist workflows.

These platforms have ultimately been patched together and upgraded as best as possible. Implementing the platform requires careful planning, significant “hands-on” management by an experienced IT team, multiple logins, close collaborations between multiple vendors, and skilled administrators all while keeping practice operations running smoothly.

Traditionally, RIS systems were designed on client-server architecture deployed and hosted locally (on-premise) without redundant servers in another physical location. This meant that if there was a power outage, fire, or even security breach compromising the on-premise server, the entire practice and its locations would be down.  This single point of failure possibility on top of the other challenges makes these legacy RIS systems incredibly difficult and costly to scale, operate, maintain, and manage.

In recent years, many healthcare systems and diagnostic imaging centers have opted to host their radiology information systems in a public cloud (Amazon, Azure, Google). This has added more complexity to securing proper connectivity, managing the practice network (outside local area), and protecting sensitive information security, amongst other concerns.

Challenge #2. Disjointed Applications

Though many IT vendors offer a traditional RIS system, they merely provide its basic structure. It’s then up to the radiology practice manager or IT director to select additional vendors that can integrate all additional modules required to improve and optimize operations for daily use, including:

  • Advanced revenue cycle management
  • Insurance verification
  • POS, online payment
  • Robust business analytics (real-time data dashboards, custom reports, etc.)
  • Digital patient engagement (appointment confirmation, surveys, etc.)
  • Online results and image sharing
  • Physician and patient portals
  • Online self-scheduling
  • And more

As demand for more functionalities grows, product updates and upgrades are rolled out and additional technologies emerge, thus complicating the management and maintenance of the systems.

Challenge #3. Inefficient Workflows

Time is more than money in radiology. Time is a tradeoff between how much time you get to improve your patient experience and how much time you lose in manual administrative tasks.

Standard RIS systems for advanced imaging centers and hospitals offer limited workflows and functionalities. Document management is a great example: Typically, printed registration intake forms are first filled out by the patient, and then manually scanned and archived into the RIS. Then, the same documents must be scanned by the technologist, after adding measurements, and clinical notes, to be available also in the PACS as a reference for the Radiologist. Finally, they need to be made digitally accessible (or printed) to support billing operations and subsequent workflows. The immediate thought is to have IT administrators come up with a better and more efficient workaround for this multi-layer manual process.

Overcome The Challenges of Aging Legacy Systems, Disjointed Applications, and Inefficient Workflows with AbbaDox RIS

Aging legacy health systems, disjointed applications, and inefficient workflows are three of the biggest challenges plaguing diagnostic radiology centers across the country (and we know they’re not the only ones!).

So how do you mitigate and address these challenges with minimal impact on your practice operations? Meet AbbaDox, the only cloud-native RIS system built with radiology in mind from the moment of inception. Our on-demand suite of radiology-centric applications tackle these challenges and provide your practice with:

Seamless Integration, Workflow Automation, and Systems Customization

When we say AbbaDox is a one-stop platform for all your radiology information needs, we mean it. First, our cloud-native radiology information system is delivered as-a-service, which yields immediate operational benefits.

Adopting radiology information systems and workflows in our as-a-Service model means you’ll no longer need to worry about continuous upkeeping, upgrades, hardware refresh, software, maintenance, or integration with third parties. These offerings significantly reduce the burden on your IT Staff and allows them to focus on other core practice needs.

Here are a few of the additional key benefits of RIS-as-a-service:

  • Ease and speed of deployment
  • Guaranteed uptime
  • Predictable operating costs
  • Configurable scheduling, registration, and operational workflows that seamlessly integrate with other third-party applications
  • Seamless data flow between the different areas of operations (front desk, call center, technologists, radiologists, billing, etc.)
  • Continuous innovation
  • Frequently updated features and functionalities to optimize and improve service levels and patient experience
  • Intuitive integrations with digital patient engagement solutions and online referring physician tools

With our latest release of AbbaDox CareFlow, we took our commitment to radiology-first innovation to the next level. AbbaDox CareFlow is the marriage of the latest technological advancements and our clients’ feedback about their desire for more customization. All workflows, menus, and functionalities within the RIS can be configured based on your unique practice and individual user preferences. And the best part? All the customizations won’t compromise on the compute resources, bandwidth, storage space, or security of your RIS.

Reduced Costs

 With AbbaDox, you’ll experience a tremendous number of operational benefits. Our cloud-native radiology information system is delivered as-a-Service, so you won’t need any costly on-premise hardware, servers, or additional subject matter experts to maintain or upgrade it. We also have a remote implementation process, so by simply logging in, you’ll have instant access to the RIS and all of its features from day one.

Beyond the hard cost savings, you’ll also benefit from our 99.99% uptime. Those frustrating, unforeseen costs associated with outages and system downtime will no longer be a factor at your practice.

In addition, our focus on security for our advanced imaging centers and their patients means you can rest easy about data breaches and ransomware attacks. Not only are these costly and inconvenient to resolve, but they can also cause immeasurable damage to your reputation amongst patients. We always put your security at the forefront of our operations with our fully HIPPA-compliant and HI-Trust Certified RIS.

Unlimited Space and Compute Power

Our system wasn’t built traditionally and then migrated to the cloud like many other radiology information systems. It was built in the cloud from the very beginning.

When you leverage the power of AbbaDox, you’ll gain unlimited, rapid scalability and compute power to support growth, expansion, and current operations. Why does a private, radiology-dedicated cloud matter to diagnostic radiology practices? The advantages lie not only within the unlimited scalability of your RIS system, but from the extended team of radiology subject-matter experts you’ll have looking out for your organization. We speak your language because we live it too.

No matter how many studies or patients you’re seeing, you’ll rest easy knowing you’ll always have the compute power needed to support it. Any time you need additional power or storage for patient records, images, and more, our team is there to facilitate it in real-time. No additional servers or on-site technology are required as your patient volume or number of locations grows.

 

Are you ready to eliminate your technology growing pains and make these challenges a distant memory? Schedule a demo today.

 

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